At Perdido Middle School, students in Ms. Nita Long’s eighth-grade science classes began an activity to teach them about distance vs. time graphs and how to use these graphs to find the average acceleration of an object.
Everyone designed a ramp using classroom items such as textbooks and miniature marker boards. Students’ cars were released from the top of the ramps as they then tested various heights to see how long it took their car to reach a certain point. They were allowed to use their cell phones to access the stopwatches and find a measure of the time it took their car to reach a certain point. Many of the students also filmed slow-motion videos so they could evaluate their results. This project will conclude after a week, when everyone has charted all of the data from each of their three trials.
As a culminating activity, students will have to create a poster-sized graph of their data, use formulas to find the average speed of their car, and share their graph with their classmates.